Friday, July 9, 2010

Book Launch and Cafe Caffeine

I must be the world's worst procrastinator! It is over four years since my memorable Texas poetry tour, and nearly two years since I posted here! OK, with the intention of wrapping up fast now, a typos-and-all email to Andrew, sent him on 21 April '06:

Hi

Grabbing free access real fast in cafe. All is well.  Motel ridic
small. May move back to Patricia's neighbour's soon. Will play by ear. Not
home anywhere much next few days.

Book launch Tues was most enjoyable tho few people and already converted.
After reading answered lots of questions about Oz.

Cafe Caffeine last night pure heaven. Thom said, a conversation in poetry.
I didn't know what he meant. Didn’t wear Dress, saving it for today; nice
to be just me in old black daks anmd T-shirt, jumping round with poets &
musos. It was anyone jump up and do something, if youy have a response to9
it do that - or whateveryou like. Fantatsic young poets, I felt
outclassed. But they all whooped and cheered for me too. First poet did
thing about koalas, so I jumped up next and said I knew it was true cos 'I
am the poet from Down Under...' They ended up nicknaming me 'Down Under'.
Even bettr than Hideout, lots of same crowd, by now I have a community of
friemnds here. Might evenbe game to do improv any time soon.
Wroteexuberant doggerel about being in lovewith all these Texans and did
that to improv music behind me. Loved it like mad.

Sorry typos, in great haste, must go to Opening Ceremony at Festrival real
soon.

Luv R


To expand on that hasty email —

My book launch, hosted by BookWoman on Tuesday 18th April (2006!) was, as the management had feared, attended by very few people even though both Thom and I had tried to drum up an eager audience. In fact it consisted almost entirely of people who had already heard me read and bought my book, who came in order to support me — and very grateful to them I was, because without them there'd have been no event. Even one of the students from my Schreiner University gig turned up. Despite the small attendance, or perhaps because of it, it was a fun night in the tradition of 'the show must go on' followed by a no-holds-barred (though very friendly) question and answer session.

People were always interested to find I grew up in Tasmania, a place some had considered mythical! On this occasion, one gay woman who had once visited Australia said she'd avoided Tasmania because of its reputation for intolerance. I was happy to be able to report that Tassie had come a long way since those bad old days. Its attitudes were certainly nothing to be proud of then, but now things are very different. The leader of one of our political parties, the Greens, is an out-of-the-closet gay Tasmanian man, much admired for his personal qualities in his own State as well as the rest of the country.














 Doing my thing at BookWoman
to a small but devoted audience.















One of my most vivid memories of the Cafe Caffeine night is of meeting Shana Young. I didn't know who she was when Thom inttroduced us, saying something to the effect that we'd be wanting to connect. But we both looked at each other a little puzzled, wondering how we knew each other. We didn't — but when Thom added, 'Witchy, witchy!' I said, 'So it's true that we always recognise each other!'

We had little chance to talk then, and never saw each other again, but chummed up later on MySpace, being enormous admirers of each other's poetry and personas. She blew me away at Cafe Caffeine with her signature piece, 'Texas Girl', a no-punches-pulled performance poem.  On MySpace, later, she published some chapters of her own version of her own initiative, The Book of I Like. Thom told me that after she created the idea, she then created empty volumes and gave them to writers and artists she knew to fill in their own ways.  I loved the idea and have written some chapters of my own. It's an ongoing exercise; there'll be more.

And here's my doggerel referred to in the email to Andrew:

Texas Love Poem

I am in love with a long, tall Texan
with deepset eyes, and he talks like Elvis.
A man of the desert who plays with rattlers,
raises wolves and drives a truck —
right outa my life, just my luck!

I am in love with a Southern gentleman,
whose accents caress me like his soft blue eyes.
A guitar-playing, bearded honey of a man.
Alas for me, he’s in love with his wife.

I am in love with a tough Texas girlfriend
who drives a mean poem to the back of the room.
I am in love with a beautiful singer
who mines true gold from a tiny drum.

I am in love with the town of Austin.
Texas is the place I long to get lost in.

I am in love with all of you.
I’m comin’ back if it’s the last thing I do!

19/4/06

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